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NL Pitching Planner: May 28 – June 3

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NL Pitching Planner: May 28 – June 3

Posted on 29 May 2012 by Mark Sherrard

We’re heading into Week 9 of the season, one third of the way home and the NL two-fers feature some quality youngsters, some lefties and at least one veteran having a comeback year.

So let’s get right to it, here are the NL two-start pitchers and favorable matchups for Week 9:

Two-Start Pitchers

No-Brainers

Tommy Hanson:  5/28 vs STL; 6/3 @ WAS – he has fared well against STL (2.25 ERA) and the Nats (3.48 ERA)

Cole Hamels: 5/28 @ NYM; 6/3 vs MIA – 7-1 with a 2.17 ERA, what more do you need?

Jordan Zimmermann: 5/28 @ MIA; 6/3 vs ATL – for the Nats, pitching is not a problem

James McDonald: 5/28 vs CIN; 6/3 @ MIL – he has made a believer out of me.  Can the Pirates score any runs though?

Results

Week 6 – 10 GS, 6 QS, 6 W, 64.2 IP, 75 H+BB, 59 K’s, 19 ER, 2.64 ERA, 1.16 whip

YTD – 39 GS, 30 QS, 14 W, 263.2 IP, 281 H+BB, 242 K’s, 75 ER, 2.66 ERA, 1.11 whip

Not Too Shabby

Lance Lynn: 5/28 @ ATL; 6/3 @ NYM -  3 straight starts giving up 3 runs or more

Wandy Rodriguez: 5/28 @ COL; 6/2 vs CIN – Coors has not been kind to pitchers this year

Trevor Cahill: 5/28 @ SF; 6/3 @ SD – Cahill owns the Giants (2.16 career ERA) and the Padres can’t hit

Shaun Marcum: 5/28 @ LAD; 6/2 vs PIT – the Pirates are the only team worse than the Padres

Jonathon Niese: 5/28 vs PHI; 6/3 vs STL – has fared well against the Phillies (3.58 ERA) and Cards (2.63 ERA)

Carlos Zambrano: 5/28 vs WAS; 6/3 @ PHI – comeback kid had first poor start of season against Rockies last time out

Juan Nicasio: 5/28 vs HOU; 6/2 vs LAD – strikeout rate is up, but so is hit rate and walk rate

Aaron Harang: 5/28 vs MIL; 6/2 @ COL – Coors makes me nervous, so tread carefully

Bronson Arroyo: 5/28 @ PIT; 6/3 @ HOU – a couple favorable matchups for the Reds righty

Results

Week 6 – 33 GS, 17 QS, 7 W, 200.0 IP, 278 H+BB, 151 K’s, 102 ER, 4.59 ERA, 1.39 whip

YTD – 136 GS, 83 QS, 48 W, 844.1 IP, 1062 H+BB, 647 K’s, 337 ER, 3.59 ERA, 1.26 whip

Risky at Best

Barry Zito: 5/28 vs ARI; 6/3 vs CHC – after strong April, the wheels are starting to fall off

Jeff Suppan: 5/28 @ CHC; 6/3 vs ARI – you have to be really desperate to consider using this guy

Travis Wood: 5/28 vs SD; 6/3 @ SF – Chris Volstad‘s replacement is only marginally better

Results

Week 6 – 12 GS, 7 QS, 3 W, 66.2 IP, 96 H+BB, 50 K’s, 31 ER, 4.18 ERA, 1.44 whip

YTD – 49 GS, 27 QS, 13 @, 293.2 IP, 396 H+BB, 205 K’s, 147 ER, 4.51 ERA, 1.35 whip

Other Favorable Matchups

Going forward, I will be focusing here on pitchers who are less than 50% owned in CBS leagues (and therefore likely available on your waiver wire).

Homer Bailey (25% owned): 5/29 @ PIT

He owns a 5-0 record and 1.94 career ERA against the Pirates

Lucas Harrell (8% owned): 5/30 @ COL

Risky, I know, but Harrell shut out the Rockies over 7 innings in his first start of the year

Jeremy Guthrie (10% owned): 5/31 vs HOU

1-0 with a 2.40 ERA against Astros in his career, albeit in a small sample size (15.0 IP)

Paul Maholm (15% owned): 6/1 @ SF

2-1 with a 3.10 ERA against the Giants in his career (52.1 IP)

Results

Week 6 – 2 GS, 1 QS, 1 W, 12.0 IP, 17 H+BB, 14 K’s, 6 ER, 4.50 ERA, 1.42 whip

YTD – 20 GS, 13 QS, 12 W, 126.1 IP, 152 H+BB, 124 K’s, 42 ER, 2.99 ERA, 1.20 whip

AL is up next.

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andydirks

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The Waiver Wire: Andy Dirks

Posted on 16 May 2012 by Daniel Aubain

Detroit Tigers outfielder Andy Dirks has been on fire since being inserted into the lineup as a regular on April 26th and time may be running out to pick him up in any quality fantasy baseball league worth participating in this season.

Over the span of 15 games (13 games started), Dirks has gone 19-for-49 (.388 BA) with four doubles, a triple, three home runs, nine RBI and 10 runs scored. Toss in a .455 OBP and a .694 SLG and you got the makings of a player who deserves to be owned in more than just 56.9% of ESPN leagues, 28% of Yahoo! leagues and 41% of CBS leagues. He’s settling in quite nicely to the number two hole in the batting order of a high-powered offense, so don’t hesitate. Check your league’s waiver wire and make the necessary adjustments to get him into your lineup. But hurry.  Over the last seven days, Dirks has been the most added player in ESPN leagues, going from a minuscule 0.3% owned to his current 56.9% (+56.6% change).

Here are some other fantasy baseball players worth a look who may still be available on your league’s waiver wire:

3B Kyle Seager, Seattle Mariners: Seager is now the Mariners’ third baseman and not disappointing. He’s racked up a 5×5 fantasy line of .284/13/4/21/3 in 31 games and needs to be owned in more than 54% of ESPN leagues and 50% of Yahoo! leagues.

RP Dale Thayer, San Diego Padres: Need saves (don’t we all?)? Thayer seems to be the closer du jour in San Diego. He’s gone 3-for-3 with four strikeouts in three innings of work and looks to be a safe “add” at this point. His ownership numbers are rising quickly, so don’t wait much longer if your team’s relievers are dropping like flies. He’s owned in just 36.6% of ESPN leagues, 31% of Yahoo! leagues and 29% of CBS leagues.

SP Carlos Zambrano, Miami Marlins: I can’t believe I am about to recommend picking up Zambrano off waivers. I’ve sworn to myself so many times not to own players I can’t stand watching on TV but his numbers are hard to ignore. Other than wins (just a 1-2 record), he’s giving fantasy owners what they need. In 48 innings, he’s struck out 39 (7.31 K/9) with a 1.88 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP. In seven starts, he’s compiled six quality starts. Owned in just 54.9% of ESPN leagues and 52% of Yahoo! leagues, it’s time to take a serious look at adding Zambrano to your fantasy pitching stuff.

C Jonathan Lucroy, Milwaukee Brewers: What’s not to love about a catcher putting up a 5×5 fantasy line of .323/8/2/16/0? ESPN’s Player Rater Tool ranks him as the 13th-best catcher this season. He’d make a great backup in single-catcher leagues to fill in on days your primary catcher is rested to not miss out on statistic scoring opportunities. He’s only owned in just 17.7% of ESPN leagues, 31% of Yahoo! leagues and 56% of CBS leagues, take a look at him if you’re struggling at the catcher position.

RP Casey Janssen, Toronto Blue Jays: If you are still looking for saves, Janssen deserves a look on a short-term basis. He’s 2-for-2 in save opportunities but, overall, he’s only walked one batter (0.89 WHIP) while striking out 13 in 12.1 innings pitched (9,49 K/9). Act now since he’s currently only owned in 29.9% of ESPN leagues, 30% of Yahoo! leagues and 34% of CBS leagues.

Shallow league players probably have many more options than those of us playing in deeper leagues. Imagine the scarcity of playing in a league-only league. Wow. I’d love to hear what your league’s waiver wire is looking like this far into the season and how you are surviving all the injuries and closer changes taking place. Feel free to use the comments section below or contact me on Twitter @DJAubain.

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NL Pitching Planner: May 7 – 13

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NL Pitching Planner: May 7 – 13

Posted on 06 May 2012 by Mark Sherrard

We are now one month into the fantasy baseball season.  Those of you languishing in the middle of the pack, don’t fret, its still early.  Keep diligently setting your lineups each week and hope that the other owners are getting lackadaisical.

To help you along, here are the two start pitchers and favorable matchups for week 6, as well as the results from week 4 and YTD:

Two-Start Pitchers

No-Brainers

Roy Halladay: 5/7 vs NYM; 5/13 vs SD – Phillies ace gets to face to weak teams

Wandy Rodriguez: 5/7 vs MIA; 5/13 @ PIT – has pitched well, just don’t expect any wins

Lance Lynn: 5/7 @ ARI; 5/13 vs ATL – ride him while he’s hot

No Brainers results

Week 4 – 1 GS, 1 QS, 0 W, 6.1 IP, 7 H+BB, 7 K’s, 3 ER, 4.26 ERA, 1.11 whip (rough week for the no-brainers)

YTD – 17 GS, 14 QS, 6 W, 106.2 IP, 118 H+BB, 108 K’s, 31 ER, 2.62 ERA, 1.11 whip

Not Too Shabby

Tommy Hanson: 5/7 @ CHC; 5/13 @ STL – Cardinals lead the NL in runs scored, Cubs are 12th

Jonathon Niese: 5/7 @ PHI; 5/13 @ MIA – Phillies miss Chase Utley & Ryan Howard, Marlins are 14th in runs

Edwin Jackson: 5/8 @ PIT; 5/13 @ CIN – Pirates are last in runs scored, Reds are 11th

Joe Saunders: 5/7 vs STL; 5/13 vs SF – Giants offense takes a hit with Sandoval injury, Cardinals are a concern though

Jeff Samardzija: 5/7 vs ATL; 5/13 @ MIL – has been a pleasant surprise so far

Ted Lilly: 5/7 vs SF; 5/13 vs COL – Rockies are last in runs scored on the road

Edinson Volquez: 5/7 vs COL; 5/13 @ PHI – Phillies are 14th in runs scored at home

Carlos Zambrano: 5/7 @ HOU; 5/13 vs NYM – I don’t entirely trust him, but he has favorable matchups

Bronson Arroyo: 5/7 @ MIL; 5/13 vs WAS – 18/3 K/BB ratio is impressive.  Can he keep it up?

Marco Estrada: 5/7 vs CIN; 5/13 vs CHC – borderline risky, but matchups are nice

Not too shabby results

Week 4 – 21 GS, 16 QS, 9 W, 133.0 IP, 160 H+BB, 105 K’s, 41 ER, 2.77 ERA, 1.20 whip

YTD – 61 GS, 43 QS, 24 W, 382.2 IP, 443 H+BB, 293 K’s, 117 ER, 2.75 ERA, 1.16 whip

Risky at best

A.J. Burnett: 5/8 vs WAS; 5/13 vs HOU – you don’t need K’s THIS bad

Alex White: 5/7 @ SD; 5/13 @ LAD – replaces Jhoulys Chacin in rotation, but not trustworthy yet.

Barry Zito: 5/7 @ LAD; 5/13 @ ARI – I just don’t trust him

Risky at best results

Week 4 – 3 GS, 2 QS, 1 W, 20.3 IP, 23 H+BB, 15 K’s, 7 ER, 3.10 ERA, 1.13 whip

YTD – 25 GS, 13 QS, 8 W, 151.3 IP, 193 H+BB, 102 K’s, 74 ER, 4.40 ERA, 1.28 whip

Other Favorable Matchups

Anibal Sanchez: 5/8 @ HOU

On a roll and facing an Astros team he owns to the tune of 3-1, 2.48 for his career.

Zack Greinke: 5/9 vs CIN

3-0 with 2.57 ERA and 38 K’s in 28 career IP against the Reds

Stephen Strasburg: 5/10 @ PIT

Strasburg against the worst hitting team in the NL.  Umm…yeah.

Johan Santana:  5/11 @ MIA

Santana is an incredible 6-1 with a 1.46 ERA in his career against the Marlins.

Cole Hamels: 5/12 vs SD

7-2 with a career 2.22 ERA against the Padres, who are only scoring a little over 3 runs a game this year

Other favorable matchups results

Week 4 – 2 GS, 1 QS, 1 W, 13.1 IP, 19 H+BB, 13 K’s, 5 ER, 3.38 ERA, 1.43 whip

YTD – 11 GS, 6 QS, 7 W, 66.0 IP, 82 H+BB, 60 K’s, 19 ER, 2.59 ERA, 1.24 whip

Next up is the AL matchups.

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DOs And DONTs:  Miami Marlins

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DOs And DONTs: Miami Marlins

Posted on 25 February 2012 by Mark Sherrard

With the team moving into a new stadium in 2012, the Miami Marlins looked to make a big splash this offseason and build an instant contender. The additions of Jose Reyes, Heath Bell and Mark Buehrle make the team a formidable foe for the likes of the Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves.

Here is a look at the Do’s and Don’ts as we run through the new and improved Marlins roster:

DO watch Hanley Ramirez closely this spring.  After a year in which he struggled with back and shoulder issues, posting the lowest OPS (.712) of his career, we should expect some regression to the mean from Hanley, provided he’s healthy.  Keep an eye on his power stroke this spring to see if he’s fully back.  Also, with his move to third base, Hanley will soon gain dual eligibility this season, thus increasing his value.

DON’T sleep on Jose Reyes.  He is still one of the top shortstops in the majors and won the NL batting title in 2011.  He probably won’t reach double digit homeruns again and I wouldn’t count on another batting title.  But he’s still good for around 40 stolen bases and an average over .300.

DO monitor Josh Johnson‘s progress this spring.  Coming off a shoulder injury, no one knows exactly what to expect this year for the Marlin’s Ace.  He made only 9 starts in 2011, before being sidelined, but, if healthy, he is one of the top 3-4 pitchers in the NL.  He threw a pain free bullpen session on Wednesday and hopes to be ready for the start of the season.

DON’T expect much from Carlos Zambrano and you won’t be disappointed.  Acquired from the Chicago Cubs for Chris Volstad, Zambrano is a shell of his former self.  After pitching over 200 innings each year from 2003-2007, Zambrano has failed to reach that mark each of the last 4 years.  Part of that is due to suspensions he received the last two years, but its pretty clear that he is no longer the workhorse he used to be.  Leave him for the NL only leagues.

DO expect a rebound from Omar Infante.  He had some bad luck last year, but seemed to turn things around in the second half of the season.  Just don’t expect much in the speed or power departments.

DON’T draft John Buck.  He has some power, but his average will hurt you, especially in Roto leagues.  Unless you have a Ryan Braun on your team, who can offset Buck’s low average, you should pass.

I DO expect big things from Mike Stanton.  The guy has some prodigious power and could easily top 40 homeruns this season.  He probably won’t hit much more than .260, but if he gives you 40+ homers and 100+ RBI’s, you can forgive him for a modest batting average.

DON’T expect to hear from Chris Coghlan, at least not in a Marlins uniform.  The former Rookie of the Year, has fallen out of favor with the Marlins and will likely begin the season in the minors or with another team.

I DO like Anibal Sanchez.  After struggling with injuries early in his career, he has put together back-to-back strong seasons.  If he can continue to stay healthy, look for more of the same in 2012.

I DON’T like Ricky Nolasco.  He has failed each of the last 3 years to rekindle the magic of his 2008 season and was rumored to be on the trading block.

DO expect bigger and better things from Gaby Sanchez.  Although he put up nearly identical stats in 2010 and 2011, there are signs of growth.  He showed a better eye in 2011, increasing his walks from 57 to 74, while keeping the same high contact rate (83%).  He could approach .300 and 25 homeruns in 2012.

I DON’T know what to make of Logan Morrison.  I considered him a bit of a sleeper last year, but while he increased his power output, he struggled with a .247 average.  He was demoted to the minors mid-year and later filed a grievance against the club, prompting speculation that he could be traded.  For now he is still with the team, the question is for how long?

DO draft Emilio Bonifacio.  An excellent source of speed, Bonifacio should net you 40+ stolen bases.  However, be wary of that .296 average from 2011, as a second half hit % of 40% is not sustainable.  Expect something more in the .260-.270 range.

DON’T waste a roster spot on Juan Carlos Oviedo (formerly Leo Nunez).  The former Marlins closer was caught in an identity fraud this winter and may not start the season with the team.

DO draft Heath Bell.  With Oviedo’s status uncertain, the Marlins signed Bell to assume the closer role.  He is one of the best and most consistent closers in the majors and, barring injury, should be the Marlins closer for the next 3 years.

Finally, DON’T forget about Mark Buehrle.  He is not a sexy pitcher and he will not rack up a bunch of strikeouts.  But what he will give you is 13-15 wins and an ERA around 3.50.  So, while other guys are chasing the next big rookie, don’t be afraid to take Buehrle in the middle rounds.

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